Deathdream (1974)

This is one of those small low budget horror movies that kind of gets lost in the shuffle, added to the fact that it has suffered a number of name changes as well, including Dead of Night, The Night Walk, and The Night Andy Came Home, it was really no wonder that I hadn’t even heard of it.

Andy comes home from the war, and though it’s never mentioned by name, the year and the setting seems to indicate that it’s Vietnam.

One could make the argument, if you miss the opening credits,that Andy is simply suffering from a case of post traumatic stress disorder, and is having a hard time reconnecting with life back home.

It’s probably safer to say that Andy just has a problem connecting with life!

You see, in the opening credits of the film, Andy (Richard Backus) is killed while out on patrol.

When his family back in small town America, receive word, his father and sister (John Marley and Anya Ormsby) grieve, his mother (Lynn Carlin), however, refuses, and seemingly through sheer force of will, she brings him home…

Not dead and not quite alive.

We learn he has no pulse, no heartbeat and has to inject himself with blood to stay alive, giving him an almost vampiric existence.

On his way home, he kills a trucker, which immediately gets the police involved, but Andy convinces his parents that everything is fine, even though he seems odd and uncommunicative with them.

His father Charles, begins to suspect something is really wrong when Andy murders the family dog, and consequently sets the local doctor on ill-fatedly, on his trail.

We see that Andy must continue to injest blood, or his body begins to decay, and it all comes apart finally in the climax, as the body count grows, and the only one safe from Andy is his mother.

The film could be seen as a commentary on the treatment of those returning from the war, families thinking everything would go back to normal, only to have their lives under siege as those they loved continued to suffer the effects of the war.

Watching Andy try to adjust to a life that he not only no longer wants, but one that is forced onto him, makes you almost sympathetic to him. Almost. Until you see him take on his killing urges on his victims.

It’s kind of sad that this film hasn’t found a wider audience, its small, it’s fun, it’s kind of like a vampire/zombie movie, but with all the name changes I guess it got lost.

But now that I know about it, I can tell you about it…

Have you seen it?

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